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|February 13th, 2011 - Iron Smelt -   2011/02/13||Viewed 101 times this month, last update: 2011/02/16|
|Today was a good day to burn stone! 100 pounds of charcoal + 40 pounds of iron ore = 13 pounds of iron bloom!|
This was by far my most successful smelt. The produced bloom is large, dense, and seemingly of good quality. The process went off without a hitch, and I have a full log with measurements for total reproducibility.
After the smelting process is done, the iron bloom is usually stuck to the side of the furnace nearest the air inlet. Here, I'm breaking the iron bloom off of the furnace walls.
Here is the bloom by itself, still in the 1000C range.
Here is the iron bloom on my railroad rail anvil. It weighs about 13 pounds!
Next is the compaction of the very porous bloom, squeezing out impurities.
Here is the bloom, after a little compaction. It will loose about 50% of its mass through the compaction process, hopefully giving me about 6 pounds of usable iron.
The bloom, cut in half, with a ruler for scale.
The faces of the cut bloom, showing how dense it really is!
Close up of the metal.
Another close up. I like the variety of colors produced by the surface oxidation.
"Sparking" of the metal, using my angle grinder. The color and branching characteristics indicate this is a medium carbon steel. The carbon content will vary greatly from location to location within the bloom, but this is very encouraging. Work at the forge, drawing out, folding and re-folding will homogenize the carbon content within the final metal.
mom (2011-02-13): Beautiful!! Will the smelter follow?
Erik (2011-02-13): The smelter is the brick furnace shown in the top picture.
mom (2011-02-14): Oops! I thought that was the process that comes next in the purification process. How do you get it from your compacted bloom form to metal clear enough to, say, make a railroad tie?
Erik (2011-02-14): The next step is further compaction, driving out the impurities (slag, charcoal bits), and then folding in the forge, to basically stir it, to get a bar of uniform content and quality.